The Open Medical Club in Armenia was awarded a grant in 2009 for a project to increase awareness of early detection methods for breast cancer and to establish a peer-to-peer health advice system on breast cancer in 20 rural communities.
The project began with qualitative research in the Ararat and Aragatsotn regions of Armenia to assess the level of knowledge of women and community leaders with regards to breast cancer early detection and prevention methods. This was done through focus group discussions and interviews at regional and local level with key community leaders.
At the same time, a “Breast Self Examination (BSE) Manual for all women” was developed, together with information leaflets and badges. 5000 copies were printed and distributed to all those who participated in the research process.
10-day training courses on peer-to-peer education and breast self-examination were run in Youth Centres in the Ararat and Aragatsotn regions. Over 40 women from 20 villages participated in the courses, through which they increased their knowledge of breast cancer and related issues by an average of 55%, and developed the skills needed to begin working as peer-educators in their own communities. These peer educators went on to disseminate information on breast cancer early detection methods in 4 educational and health institutions in targeted regions of Armenia.
• Awareness of breast cancer early detection and prevention methods among women in targeted regions of Armenia increased by 21%.
• Number of visits by women to health facilities for breast examination increased by 16% in targeted regions.
• As of December 2010, 79 women from targeted villages had undergone mammography examinations in Yerevan clinics
• The “Breast Self Examination (BSE) Manual for all women” is available in all health facilities in the targeted villages.